Tourism gets roaring boost with import of 1,000 electric and hybrid vehicles

Wednesday, 3 April 2024 00:24 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Cabinet green lights import of 750 vans and 250 buses, without special tax relief

 Tourism Minister Harin Fernando


Recognising the critical role of transportation infrastructure in boosting the tourism sector and driving economic growth, Cabinet of Ministers has given the green light to import 750 vans and 250 buses, including electric and hybrid vehicles, without special tax relief.

The proposal to import vehicles by Tourism Minister Harin Fernando comes in response to the pressing need for modern and reliable transportation options to cater to the influx of tourists visiting Sri Lanka. 

Cabinet Co-Spokesman and Minister Bandula Gunawardena said the tourism industry can now import 750 vans with a seating capacity of 6-15 people, as well as 250 buses which include small buses with 16-30 seats or large buses with 30-45 seats. 

Despite the usual practice within the tourism industry to limit the use of vehicles for transporting tourists to six years, concerns have arisen over the deteriorating condition of existing vehicles. The situation has not only impacted the quality of tourist experiences but also tarnished Sri Lanka’s reputation as a premier tourist destination.

“The importation of modern vehicles represents a significant step towards rejuvenating the tourism sector and boosting the country’s economic recovery efforts,” he added.

Sri Lanka banned vehicle imports since March 2020 to save the reserves amidst the COVID pandemic. However, the decision has gravely impacted vehicle importers and all related industries over the past four years.

In January 2024, the Cabinet of Ministers approved importing vehicles specifically for the Ports, Shipping and Aviation Ministry as well as the Education Ministry.